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Benefits of Speech Therapy for Toddlers

Every child is unique and develops at their own pace. However, if you’ve noticed your toddler doesn’t quite understand, pronounce or form words correctly, they may have some degree of speech delay. Voice, speech and language disorders are fairly common, as they are present in nearly 1 in 12 American children. The majority of speech or language delays in toddlers have no direct cause.

Some children are late talkers, simply taking more time to develop. Others may experience an expressive language delay due to hearing impairment or a developmental disorder such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Speech therapy services can help your toddler reach key milestones and communicate their needs through evidence-based interventions. Here are the top benefits you can expect from a family-centered speech therapy approach.

1. Develop Language Comprehension and Communication Skills

Speech therapy focuses on more than speech — it also includes learning how to understand language and use alternative communication methods. A speech therapist will work with your toddler to expand their communication abilities using various methods, such as:

  • Words
  • Gestures
  • Sign language
  • Approximations
  • Vocalizations
  • Eye contact
  • Writing
  • Picture exchanges
  • Body language
  • Facial expressions

Language comprehension skills are critical for children in the early stages of development as they enable them to communicate their needs, wants and feelings. Additionally, these skills can improve your toddler’s ability to understand directions and questions and participate in conversations. Your child’s speech therapist may also help you determine whether they require supplemental support for traditional speech using communication tools.

2. Enhance Vocal Quality and Articulation

Speech and language delays can impact a child’s vocal quality, pitch and amplitude. Being naturally soft-spoken is one thing, but consistently poor vocal quality can result in breathlessness, monotone delivery and mumbling as your child becomes an adult. As a rule of thumb, your toddler’s speech should be understood at least 75% of the time before they enter kindergarten.

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) has the expertise to detect if your child has a voice disorder by assessing for various symptoms, including:

  • Voice fatigue
  • Distorted or dropped sounds
  • Excessive vocal effort
  • Weak voice
  • Abnormal pitch or volume
  • Throat or laryngeal tension
  • Unstable vocal quality throughout the day
  • Strangled voice
  • Shrill or shaky voice

If your toddler’s speech is difficult to understand or unintelligible, they may benefit from speech articulation improvement from an SLP. A speech therapist can determine the presence and severity of your child’s condition and implement proper vocal practices to address functional and structural weaknesses. Speech therapy can also help your child build self-awareness of their voice quality and speech intelligibility so they can be more clearly understood.

3. Improve Self-Esteem and Independence

Toddlers can have intense emotions, but their cognitive abilities are not yet fully developed, making it challenging for them to express their thoughts and feelings. Speech and language delays can exacerbate this obstacle, creating a greater imbalance in their emotions and words ratio. Some children may feel isolated or embarrassed when they struggle to formulate sentences or articulate words. Speech therapy can help your toddler build their self-esteem and confidence by improving their ability to express their thoughts, feelings and needs.

An SLP will implement communication skills enhancement strategies that help your child confidently share their ideas, ask for help and feel a sense of control over their lives. Improved ability to communicate can also boost their independence and self-governance as they learn to advocate for themselves and navigate social situations. Speech therapy services for toddlers offer a safe environment for your child to build their unique strengths without fear of criticism or judgment.

4. Support Successful Social Interaction

Toddlers who experience speech and language delays, limited speech or disordered speech may find it challenging to connect with their peers. However, play and conversation are critical aspects of their development. Making meaningful connections requires effective communication, including learning how to decipher social cues.

Your toddler can use the strategies they learn in speech therapy to demonstrate active listening, conflict resolution and sharing with others. Your toddler’s SLP will provide them with the tools they need to engage with those around them, greatly improving their social skills and helping them feel included.

5. Foster Academic Success

Some speech and language disorders can create secondary challenges in listening, reading and writing. In fact, children with a developmental language disorder (DLD) are six times more likely to have a reading or spelling disability.

These delays may even prevent your child from participating meaningfully in discussions, reading aloud or collaborating with others in a classroom. Proficiency in speech and language is essential for grasping the fundamental building blocks of literacy in the future.

Speech therapy services can build your child’s reading, spelling and phonological skills — this includes awareness of sounds and how to manipulate them. Speech therapy also supports academic success for toddlers by introducing organizational and concentration skills, which can profoundly impact their educational growth and performance.

6. Reduce Communication Frustrations

As an adult, you know the frustrating experience of forgetting a familiar or common word, even when it’s on the tip of your tongue. Toddlers with speech and language delays often feel this same frustration when they know what they want to communicate but struggle to do so.

Being able to speak clearly is how we talk about our feelings, but a toddler with a speech delay does not always have this option. Speech therapy services can teach your child how to communicate effectively in a way that meets their unique abilities. A skilled SLP will patiently work with your toddler to help them express their frustrations in a way that makes sense to others.

Why Is Early Speech Intervention Important?

Early intervention is critical for improving your child’s ability to communicate and effectively interact with others. Some speech delays or impediments may go unnoticed until later stages of development, which can be more challenging to address. Identifying speech problems early can help prevent further progression of these delays.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends acting early if you have concerns about your toddler’s language development. Early intervention allows your toddler to access necessary services during the most adaptable time in their lives, which can significantly impact their developmental path and success. Early intervention speech therapy services will help your child reach their next milestones and unlock their full potential.

Contact Kids SPOT for Speech Therapy Services for Toddlers

Speech therapy can support your toddler’s ability to properly articulate sounds, pronounce words and improve expressive and receptive language. At Kids SPOT, we create personalized treatment plans for every child to meet them where they are. We understand your toddler has unique health requirements and abilities, which is why our compassionate SLPs make it a priority to help them develop reliable communication skills in a way that best suits their needs.

Our SLPs integrate a variety of specialized activities and techniques to address your toddler’s delays or disorders to help them achieve a greater quality of life. We offer speech therapy services at many of our locations. Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn how we can accommodate your family’s needs!